“Last Tango in Paris” director Bernardo Bertolucci confessed that he and Marlon Brando conspired against actress Maria Schneider during a rape scene in which the actor used a stick of butter as lubricant to simulate sex. The director addressed the non-consensual rape scene in a recently resurfaced interview from 2013.
According to Bertolucci, he and Brando agreed not to tell Schneider what would happen to her because he wanted her reaction “as a girl, not as an actress.” He said that he and Schneider, who died in 2011, never saw one another after the film because she hated him.
REALLY? How seriously can we take this 40 years late “confession.” From the look of the film it’s a deliberately staged scene — a “sex scene” in which actual sex doesn’t take place, though it works to create the illusion that it has. But there’s no denying that the experience upset her.
As you can see from IMDB Maria Schneider had appeared in films prior to Last Tango. But just as Lawrence of Arabia was Peter O’Toole’s “debut” rather than The Savage Innocents so it is with Maria and Bernardo.
No less an eminence that Ingmar Bergman complained that Bertolucci really wanted the character Schneider played to be a boy, but choked at the last minute and substituted this very boyish lesbian.
And a few years later, Bertolucci, whose bisexuality is far from a state secret ( cough Allen Midgette cough) admitted that was true but felt his new “discovery” would be better than a boy.
MariaSchnider was never a “real actress.” She was more a “personality” who occasionally found fitting roles for herself. One of the best was in Antonioni’s The Passenger opposite Jack Nicholson. Both director and star were most congenial with her. But Maria’s career overall was erratic.
In the late 70’s Jacques Rivette sought her out for a project called –
Maria agreed to do it if her co-star could be her friend Joe Dallesandro
Having worked for so many years with Warhol and Morrissey, Joe took to Rivette’s semi-improvisatory style like a duck to water. Maria was another story. Sometimes she showed up on the set, and sometimes she didn’t. So erratic was her behavior that Rivette hired Hermione Karagheuz to do the scenes Maria wouldn’t/couldn’t. He adored working with Joe.
And here’s the result.
A little over a decade ago Bernardo Bertolucci suffered a debilitating back injury has confined him to a wheelchair.. While he made his last film, the little-seen Him and Me in this condition, it is doubtful he will ever make another.
Gino Paoli will sing us out with a song he wrote with Ennio Morricone for Before the Revolution